Journal 4, April 2007pages: 265-270
Background: Radiofrequency ablation has been suggested as first-line therapy in the management of accessory pathways. There are limited data on the results of ablation over years of experience.
Objectives: To assess the results and complications following RFA of APs performed in our institution over a 14 year period.
Methods: RFA was performed using deflectable electrode catheters positioned at the mitral or tricuspid annulus. The site of the AP was localized by electrophysiological study and radiofrequency energy was applied via the tip of the catheter
Results: The study cohort comprised 508 consecutive patients (64.2% males, mean age 33.6 ± 15.1 years) who underwent 572 RFA procedures for ablating 534 APs. A single AP was found in 485 (95.5%) patients while multiple APs were noted in 23 patients (4.5%). The APs were manifest, concealed or intermittent in 46.8%, 44.4% and 8.8% of cases, respectively. AP distribution was as follows: left free wall (56.6%), posteroseptal (23%), right anteroseptal (7.9%), right free wall (6.2%), midseptal (3.4%) and right atriofascicular (3.0%). Acute successful rates for a first or multiple ablation attempts were 93.1% and 95.3%, respectively. At a first ablation attempt, acute success and failure rates were the highest for midseptal (100%) and right atriofascicular (12.5%) APs respectively. Right anteroseptal APs were associated with the highest rate (23.9%) of discontinued or non-attempted procedures. Recurrent conduction in an AP after an initial successful ablation was observed in 9.9% of cases; it was the highest (24.2%) for right free wall APs and the lowest (5.0%) for left free wall APs. During follow-up (85 ± 43 months), definite cure of the AP was achieved in 94.9% of cases following a single or multiple procedures: midseptal (100%), left free wall (98%), right free wall (97%), posteroseptal (92.7%), right atriofascicular (87.5%) and right anteroseptal (78.5%). A non-fatal complication occurred in 18 patients (3.5%), more frequently in females (6.6%) than in males (1.8%) (P < 0.01). The two major complications (pericardial effusion and myocardial ischemic events) mainly occurred during RFA of a left free wall AP using a retrograde aortic approach. Catheter-induced mechanical trauma to APs was observed in 56 cases (10.5%). Mechanical trauma mainly involved right atriofascicular (43.8%) and right anteroseptal (38.1%) APs and contributed to the low success rate of RFA at these AP locations. During the 14 year period, our learning curve was achieved quickly in terms of success rate, although the most significant complications were observed at the beginning of our experience.
Conclusions: The results of this study confirm the efficacy and safety of RFA and suggest that it is a reasonable first-line therapy for the management of APs at any location.
 RFA = radiofrequency ablation
 AP = accessory pathway